Finally, the 2012 Playoffs begin. The Hawks drew the least threatening of the possible opponents. That is not to say that they aren't a dangerous team, just less dangerous than Nashville. The big matchup will be the Blackhawks offense versus Mike Smith. While both teams had almost identical records in their last 10 games, the Yotes were on a 5 game winning streak. The only glaring difference between the special teams is Phoenix's penalty kill unit, which was 8th in the league, as compared to the Hawks 27th ranking. Both powerplays have been absolutely horrid, so don't expect much excitement there, unless you're looking for shorthanded goals. This biggest story of the series, though, is the return of Jonathan Toews after missing 22 games. If the Hawks second line can maintain it's hot play, the Yotes may find themselves in trouble often, but that's a big "if".
Even though only one goal was scored in the first period, Thursday night, the Hawks controlled a majority of the play. The Hawks looked energized and out shot the Yotes 11-8. As with everything the Hawks do, that successful first period came to a screeching halt in the second. They were outshot 13-11 and outscored 2-0. It's a damn shame they can't be consistent enough to play three solid periods in a row. In the third, the Hawks mounted a comeback they shouldn't have needed in the first place. They peppered the Yotes with 18 shots, and scored with 14 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime. In overtime the Hawks were sloppy in their own zone and ended up losing about 9 minutes in.
- El Capitan wasted no time making his presence known scoring just over four minutes into the game, from Kaner and Oduya. It was really a scramble and Tazer just threw it at the net from a bad angle, and it ended up beating Smith. I know he'll take it!
- Read this very carefully, because you probably won't see it again. Hjalmarsson actually laid a big hit on Klesla. It was a VERY nice open ice hit. I was shocked.
- Crawford flashed some sass with only 2 seconds left in the first period. He slid over to stop a backdoor chance for Hanzal after Oduya turned it over behind the net.
- Brent Seabrook was the hero, briefly, with 14 seconds left in the third period. He picked a Kaner rebound off the post, off his skate and finally deposited it in the open net to send the game to OT. The Hawks were all OVER the Coyotes at that point.
- While he was a little frisky at the end of the first period, Andrew Shaw really showed me that he's a gamer. He plays with a naive confidence that works for him. He's growing on me more and more every game.
- Raffi Torres is still a complete fucking tool bag. Fuck him and his whole fucking family. He was running around trying to throw elbows at people, like a total jackass. I will admit it's funny to watch him miss, though.
- One Trick Bick had a chance to completely take all momentum from the Yotes, and shot it right into Smith's bread basket. I really don't know what is worse, trying to pick a corner and missing the net or hitting the goalie in the chest.
- Antoine Vermette grabbed the lead for the Yotes late in the second period on a mid range slapshot. It was a fairly innocent looking play and Crawford had the time to track it, but just simply didn't. Crawford would love that one back, I'm certain.
- The Coyotes won the game as the clock struck exactly midnight of Friday the 13th. How appropriate. Kruger lost an important defensive draw, Aucoin kept the puck in the zone, and then both Kruger and Leddy got out muscled by Hanzel for the tip.
- Minus 2 for both Lurch and Hammer. Coincidence? Hjalmarsson deserved a minus two on the first goal alone. "I know whe've been stuck on the ice for about 2 minutes and we can't get the puck out of the zone, but let's keep the play alive. None of that silly play stoppage stuff!"
- I'm sure Frolik would be more useful than the 6:40 of playing time Bollig got. At least Frolik can work the PK, but what do I know? Bollig sure looked great on that first Yotes goal, didn't he?
- After a complete clusterfuck of shift, the Yotes finally tied up the game. Bollig, Sharp, and about 5 other players failed to get the puck out of the zone. With that much action in your own end, you are bound to end up picking the puck out of your own net. Pat and Edzo can blame it on the missed too-many-men call all they want, but the bottom line is that if Sharp doesn't turn that puck over to start the shitshow, that never ends up happening. Are you not professionals? In Pittsburgh they can cry about officiating, like little bitches. The Hawks need to overcome and conquer. Lets not even get into the fact that Hjalmarsson prevented Crawford from stopping the play with a complete dunderhead move of his very own.
- Just goes to show that the powerplay is going to bite them in the ass, the Hawks were 0-4. 25% is all I ask, for Christ sakes!
- The Hawks were out hit (48-22), out blocked (27-12), and beat at the faceoff dots (43%), yet still took the game to OT. I've been pointing out the faceoff problem for months and look how the game winning goal was scored. Lost faceoff. That's not coincidence, folks.